Despite temperatures rising well into the 60s on Friday, near-blizzard conditions are possible during the Sunday morning commute from Charlottesville through Baltimore.
The National Weather Service has issued a Winter Weather Advisory for up to two to four inches of snow and wind gusts of up to 55 miles per hour for Charlottesville. The advisory takes effect Saturday morning at 7 a.m. and runs until 3 p.m.
Precipitation is likely to start as rain — possibly heavy — before turning to sleet and then snow. According to the National Weather Service, two to four inches of snowfall is expected in Charlottesville as temperatures plunge during the daylight hours. The snowfall may be heavy at times, particularly from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m.
The heavy winds accompanying the storm threaten to down trees and power lines, potentially leading to power outages in the area. The winds may also lead to extremely low levels of visibility, producing blizzard-like conditions.
“The combination of moderate to heavy snowfall and very high winds could produce localized near blizzard conditions tomorrow morning, making conditions very hazardous for travel,”the National Weather Service’s Sterling Office wrote in its forecast discussion. “A blizzard
warning was considered, but confidence wasn`t high enough in the quarter mile visibility requirement being met for three hours straight.”
Currently, the National Weather Service forecasts a high-end amount of snowfall — which it describes as having a one-in-10 chance of occurring — as 5.9 inches in Charlottesville and 5.4 inches in Washington D.C.
Following the initial snowfall in the morning and afternoon, the wind chill in Charlottesville is likely to fall into the single digits. Snow squalls are also possible into the evening hours, potentially jeopardizing the Saturday evening commute as well.